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November 6, 2021

What are we running from, you might ask? The answer is “suffering.” The dictionary defines suffering as the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and all of us will experience some form of suffering during our lifetime. For some, suffering will be minuscule, while for others, suffering will be a significant part of their existence.

Suffering had an origin, and if you don’t know where it all started, allow me to recap the event that determined the future of the world. Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden and instructed they could eat of every tree except one tree. After a serpent deceived Eve, Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s instruction, and God penalized them for their actions. This is what God said to Eve, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Genesis 3:16). And this is what He told Adam, “Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:17-19). Adam and Eve’s disobedience caused experiences that were supposed to be pleasant to turn arduous. Their actions introduced suffering into the world, and it has continued to this day.

God sent Jesus to this earth to redeem us back to Himself as He promised in Genesis 3:15 when He told the serpent, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Jesus was that seed, and He had to suffer like everyone else. During His time on earth, He was rejected by loved ones and followers, He was mocked, He was physically abused, He endured emotional turmoil, He was falsely accused, He was threatened, and He was betrayed. Before His burial and resurrection, He had to be whipped.

Jesus’s suffering though painful, made Him the perfect leader and example for us to follow. Paul stated in Hebrews 2:9-10, But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

Before His crucifixion, Jesus warned his disciples they would experience suffering. As believers, though it is uncomfortable and hard for us to accept, suffering has a significant role in our lives in making us the chosen vessels fit for God’s use. We, like Jesus, are being perfected in our painful experiences; so, we need to stop running from suffering and embrace it for the fruitful results that it will produce.

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